The Kirkyan Weapon


This isn’t exactly something I’ve been wanting to discuss but it’s come up on Jamais Cascio’s blog entry, “(Virtual) Weapon Smuggling” (Link): kirkyan weapons.

For those of you who don’t understand what that is, imagine you designed a weapon inside a 3D virtual world like Second Life. Imagine that data was sufficiently accurate that a real device could be fabricated using rapid-manufacturing technology (e.g. a metal laser-melting system). Let’s say that the fabbed device isn’t functioning as best it could, so the virtual version which is connected to the real version via a ubiquitous computing network – using sensors embedded in the fabbed version to record relevant information – redesigns itself using automated software routines. The owner puts the weapon in a recycle unit where any number of processes break the weapon down into its core materials, and then those materials are used in the re-fabrication of a superior, custom replacement weapon based on the new virtual version of that weapon.

Now imagine the firing range – which is also the point of sale – is in a virtual world where anyone has access (it’s not as if there’s any lack of virtual shooting galleries, so that shouldn’t be much of a stretch). A visitor’s avatar may contain or have ready access to real world information about that buyer which is pertinent to the design of their personally-customized weapon. For example, an online game profile used in a variety of “games” might contain real details, such as whether a person is right- or left-handed, the size of their hand, the circumference of each finger, aso. In fact, the avatar may just be a full-body scan of the real person (useful for custom-fabbed clothing purchases like t-shirts and sneakers). In effect, first-person shooting games could become the weapons bazaars of the future. Only it’s not a real weapon being sold, but the 3D data representing the design and the code that comes with it to help it evolve. The real thing is fabbed at a local gunsmith/service bureau… or maybe as innocent-looking parts in shopping center rapid-fab kiosks.

So, how do we deal with this?

{Rapid-prototype gun image in above composite is Copyright © 2005 Sascha Pohflepp}

3 thoughts on “The Kirkyan Weapon

  1. I am a huge fan of 3d printers. As many people at work will tell you. I have been harping on about them for ages. This is a great further extension.
    I know that a mini spy plane at Farnborough air show was 90% printed in the field. Likewise zcorp cites a military map printed in 3d to save modelling things from twigs and empty cans.
    So there certainly is a reason to take this concept seriously.

  2. I recall the news about the UCAV at the Farnborough show (being an aero, I tend to watch for that stuff). But I’d rather the extension was applied to something else – like the oil spill containment device I mentioned previously (reLink). Weapons I can do without.

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